I am back from a six hour round trip drive for a three hour meeting. Our seminarians are home for the holidays so this is a great time of year to catch up with them. Our Moderator leads meetings well by taking everyone's comments seriously and moving us through a mountain of details. Today ends his term and the new Moderator begins in January. New Moderator attended today's meeting and will be a good leader for us. He made insightful comments and was respectful to both the committee and the candidates.
We are charged with helping candidates discern their calls for ministry as well as provide encouragement and direction for the candidates as they go through seminary. We are the next to last gatekeepers for the Church, the last being the Presbytery who has the final say and vote on whether or not a candidate will be ordained as a minister of the Word and Sacrament.
I remember my candidacy days and marvel at how well the committee back in old Mecklenburg Presbytery (now the Presbytery of Charlotte) handled a very young woman who knew nothing but only wanted to serve God as a preacher even though my gender was, I'm sure, a challenge to them then. I was treated respectfully, kindly and given nurture. They also arranged for scholarship aid and gave me a gift of money at Christmas. Now we cannot give money to candidates directly without it messing up their financial aid.
My old man ginger cat, Rusty, is a weekend patient at the Vet Hospital to be treated with antibiotics for a bite he received on his back. I plan to bring him home Monday. My house is not as bright without him around and although I know he is in good hands, I wish I could put on my clericals and go visit him at the hospital as I would one of you. If you pray for cats, please remember Rusty in your prayers.